Everyone deciding to bring home a cat or kitten needs to decide what cat food is best. What most people don’t realize is that cats have specific needs to be met just like humans. Let’s look at what your cat needs to stay healthy.
Cats are naturally carnivores. This means they are geared to consume mostly protein in their diet. When a cat hunts, it will get protein from the muscle meat of the animals it eats. This meat also provides them with taurine, an important nutrient needed to maintain good health.
A cat also needs to be well hydrated just like we do. They do not naturally drink lots of water. Outdoor cats usually get most of the moisture they need from the prey they consume. Inside cats need our help to make sure they get all the fluids they need. Always leave a fresh bowl of water out for them to drink from but remember this may not give them enough fluids through out the day. A good cat food will help with this.
A good combination of wet and dry foods is best. Canned cat food typically has a high moisture content, between 75% and 78%. This is a great way for them to get the moisture they need to stay well hydrated. Serving about 3/4th of their diet in canned food will help maintain their good health. Giving the additional 1/4th of their food as a dry food will help keep their teeth cleaned and in good shape.
Choosing the right food is very important. Not all canned foods have the nutrients needed to keep your kitty healthy. Check the label for the main ingredients. Chicken, beef or fish should be listed as the main ingredient. Check for a good concentration of the meal in the product. Many manufacturers use smaller amounts so read the label well to make sure the protein is the main ingredient. If the label lists “formula” or “dinner” it will usually have a lower concentration of the main ingredient. Likewise, reading the label on dry food is just as important. Many dry foods have high plant-based proteins. A cats digestive system is not designed to digest the cellulose found in plants. Look for the same main ingredients as in canned food for high quality dry foods.
Proteins should make up approximately 40% of your cats diet. Fats should be around 1/3rd of it. This is why it is so important to choose food with high protein and also the right amount of fat. It is also important to check the carbohydrate level and source. Look for the carbohydrate level to be less than 50%. The main source of carbs should come from vegetables and rice not corn meal. You also want the food to have good amounts of vitamins and minerals like omega-3, taurine and fiber. Look for foods that use natural preservatives rather than artificial ones. Vitamin C and vitamin E are good preservatives and are good for your cat’s health.
If your cat is used to eating dry food now, introducing wet food can be a challenge. Never make drastic changes to your pets diet. Introduce new foods gradually. There are several types of wet foods available such as pate, flakes and chunks. Texture is important to cats so finding one they like make be tricky. Experiment with the different varieties to find the one they like best. While adjusting to wet foods, try adding small amounts of water to their dry food to increase moisture consumed as well as reduce the crunch.
Just remember, the health of your cat is dependent on their diet. Providing a good combination of dry and wet food will help maintain your cats good health. This will give you many happy healthy years with your beloved furry friend.